INDIAN MUSIC FORUM ARCHIVES: Sitar Forum: Sitar "pick guard"


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Sitar "pick guard" Apr 14, 2002 04:39 p.m.

Another "oddball" topic that makes you want to go hmmmmm. The sitar has a sort of pick guard (guitar term) just below your right hand where you play the strings. This is made of celluoid white plastic on modern sitars, and probably bone or ivory on the old classics. Also usually has a lot of fancy pen and ink work on it too.

So, two questions. Thinking caps on?
1) Anybody know the real name of this thing?
I can't find it anywhere.
2) I note that there are two design styles in use. One design looks like a pointed spearhead at the bottom, straight cut at the top. The other type is what I call a "fishtail" in that the bottom portion braches into two "fins", with a spearhead design at the top. See this type on most modern sitars, but not all. So, anyone know the history or significance of these design types?

Re:Sitar "pick guard" Apr 14, 2002 08:26 p.m.

Hey Russ.

My understanding of that is that it is purely decorative - designed to cover the junction (glue etc) where the neck and bottom tumba join. As for fins vs. spearheads...simple variations on a theme I'd guess.

Re:Sitar "pick guard" Apr 15, 2002 02:21 p.m.

Hi Neal;
Yeah, I figured it was mostly for decoration, but its interesting that only one variation on a theme appears to exist. The neck and tumba is primarily joined by the "gulu", the highly-carved wood piece on the back. But I guess this piece helps for the front. Still wonder what its called...
Re:Sitar "pick guard" Apr 16, 2002 01:33 a.m.

I call mine Norman if that helps any...
Re:Sitar "pick guard" Apr 16, 2002 08:23 a.m.

Now THAT'S funny!
Re:Sitar "pick guard" Apr 16, 2002 10:11 a.m.

Tell Norm I said hello....
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